Ender Lilies: After Hollow Knight, another action-platformer adventure out of nowhere manages to become one of the brightest games of its year.
There are happy marriages in life, and then there is the independent scene with the metroidvania games. Although there are now debates about the term and the soulsvania variant has entered the middle to complicate the labels, 2D titles with large maps to explore, backtracking and combats – that enliven everything – are safe territory for any study that begins. Whoever trusts everything to these hackneyed ingredients runs, yes, many risks. We talk about concepts that have been with us for a long time, but being able to impress with ingredients that have already given almost everything is not easy at all. Many try and very few succeed, but when everything goes well the independent scene can reach exceptional levels of quality. We made it clear from the beginning: that is exactly what has happened with Ender Lilies, pure metroidvania that comes to dispute the scepter of a genre in high hours.
Before embarking on the journey, we are going to spend very little time talking about his influences: he is the same one who loses the game in displaying them shamelessly. It is evident, almost to the point of plagiarism, that in Ender Lilies there is much of a Hollow Knight turned into the greatest reference of the genre, but there are more aromas floating in the mysterious atmosphere of Finisterra. These loans are very well integrated into a game that, in the end, manages to impose its own identity on its very numerous models: Salt and Sanctuary, Blasphemous, Ori and the Willl of the Wisps… and Dark Souls. Always Dark Souls.
Finisterra, land of floods (centenarians)
Ender Lilies meets the first premise. Its graphic finish enters through the eyes from the first moment, without the two-dimensional festival declining throughout the adventure. Not surprisingly, the Japanese were the pioneers of the most ancient pixel art, and the scenarios of this devastated world show that they are still capable of everything, with their anime characters and their ever-inspiring backgrounds. With regard to the enemy models, the game keeps its cards very well, so it has rarely been repetitive for us what we have found throughout the adventure: there is always a new dragon to kill, or the archers fire more viciously in each zone. Areas that, along with the way they are navigated and the exceptional combat system, are the absolute stars of the function.
Regarding combat, what has surprised us the most about this game – let’s not forget that we are talking about a Japanese indie that came out of nowhere – is the exceptional level of refinement and how well all the weapons work at close and long range. As we obtain and combine enemy souls – in a system similar to that of portable Castlevania – we will find very different styles of play that almost always work perfectly. At least, that’s the way it will be until the game – be it by the design of some area, or by its final bosses – forces us to change our mind. Our Lily is also equipped with relics that work in a similar way to Hollow Knight’s amulets, so each player will have a different experience that, however, ends up being viable thanks to a combat system and platform that never falls apart. . Experimentation with all weapons and their combinatorics, of course, is essential in many areas. It is convenient to be clear, since falling in love with a strategy can be a serious traffic jam with the last bosses.